What's in a WOD?
It's 7:59pm, and you anxiously await the last 60 seconds refreshing Wodify to see what the flavor of the day is for tomorrow. A few questions are stirring:
"Are we going to lift? I'd really like to get a new PR in something."
"I hope we're running or rowing tomorrow, I just have to get some cardio in."
"I don't care what we're doing, I just want to RX the WOD. I have to beat Susie on the leaderboard."
"I want to do my own thing tomorrow, I heard the Wendler program is great for strength."
At the surface these are very innocent questions. At the root, I'd argue that all of these approaches take you down the wrong path in achieving your wellness goals. CrossFit is not about PRs, cardio, and definitely not about whether or not you can click the RX button in Wodify. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic when you break down barriers and reach new levels in your training. But if these are the motivations that get you to the gym, your journey will surely end short of where you want to go. Mindset is a very difficult thing to teach, and we could dig deep into cognitive science to make our best attempt at understanding our psyche and developing a warrior mentality, but this is not the time or the venue. Instead, we want to convey a route to give you the best chance at being successful in your journey.
Stick to the basics. I posted an article a few weeks ago discussing this point. CrossFit has very definitive roots in its concepts and methods. These same concepts are what made CrossFit a global success and leader in results based fitness. Over the years, with rapid expansion, competition, and market saturation, some of the fundamentals have been lost. Instead of nailing the basics and becoming good across the board at the ten physical skills (endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy), people tend to get pulled into the direction of a select few, sexy, highly quantitative skill sets that have measurements which are easy to define and display. Just as in sports which specialize, over-focus will produce an imbalance in the skills, even when results are highly positive (i.e. 1 rep maxes go up relatively quickly). Remember, if you want to be a good CrossFitter, you have to be good in 10 areas, not just great at 2 or 3. Trust that we are giving you the tools to do this and stick to the plan. Our programming is highly inclusive of all modalities and domains. They are presented in a manner of great variety, but little randomization. That is to say that the workouts aren't actually pulled out of a hopper, they are formulated in many cycles that range from terms of weeks all the way to 6 months. Patience is a virtue, and for those who stick with it, and many of you can attest to this, you will greatly exceed your own expectations. Of course, it will take consistency and plenty of hard work, but you'll get there. It's easy to get lost in the newest competitor programming that hit the streets or following random YouTube videos of your favorite CrossFit celebs, but mixing and matching will only hinder your progress. Don't get greedy and be in a rush to exceed your own capacity and capability. We all start somewhere and our levels of ability and proficiency vary greatly. Be patient, trust the process.
Find competition within yourself. Learn to push yourself because you want to do better than you did last time, not because you want to be better than the person next to you. It's easy to tell when people reach this mental level. There is no music required, no partners, no spectators, and no leaderboard. It's just you, the bar, and the clock, and you crush it. This is one of the purest forms of self-growth, and the significance of this mental state must not be undermined or overshadowed by peer to peer competition. Make no mistake about it, the community we have and the social atmosphere that exists in our gym is one of the greatest aspects involved in our success. We have phenomenal people who hold each other accountable, push each other, and motivate one another to do better. But when the initial excitement of that aspect starts to retreat, we have to find reason in ourselves to keep coming back. No one wants you to succeed more than yourself. Find the challenge inside and embrace it.
Going forward, my intent is for you to reflect on your mental state towards your fitness goals. I don't wan't you to doubt yourself, and in no way am I saying one thought process is right or wrong, better or worse. Self-assessment should be a continuous process and it's important for individuals to ensure perception meets reality. The goal is to take a focused look at your approach to the gym. If you're at peace with where you are, then you're on the right path. If you're in a constant state of mental chaos, confusion, questioning, and uncertainty, than I challenge you to be patient. Stop looking for an answer. All you have to do is be consistent with your attendance and ruthless in your performance. Start there and everything else will fall into place.